While I wrote the book, I tried hard as I may to incorporate all migraine types since migraine affects the brain initially the same way and for the same reason: the brain cells’ (neurons’) lack of ability to work as a result of inappropriate quantity of voltage generating and hydrating ions. Simple you think; just add more.
While the book’s method works very well for people in the US, I find that in the case of two other countries, UK and Australia, where there seem to be enough life style differences in comparison to the US, the standard method does not appear to work effectively. At the time I wrote the book, I tried to join migraine groups of these countries but it seemed that they were not interested in an American scientist and what she had to ask or say and so I never really had the chance to understand these differences.
The Fighting the Migraine Epidemic book by now has achieved quite a bit of success with US migraine sufferers will create a testimonials link as soon as I can. However, it has not yet been as successful in the UK and in Australia. Part of the reason is that people in these countries seem to have different types of migraines! In the US most migraines are classic (just horrendous pain, sick to stomach, dizzy, etc.,) or complex (comes with aura as well). Only a fraction of a percent of the US migraineurs has what is called a Hemiplegic Migraine. This is a form of migraine that starts typically with a blind spot and aura as the complex does but then it progresses into muscle weakness to downright muscle paralysis of one side of the body in whole or in part.
Hemiplegic Migraines are a lot more serious migraines than classic or complex ones because there is a higher risk of stroke and seizure with possible permanent effects.
What may be the reason for the US having fewer Hemiplegic Migraineurs than the UK or Australia?
Migraine is genetic but genes mean nothing until their switch is turned on–the gene gets expressed. It is unknown at this point if a particular type of migraine is represented by a particular type of gene or if particular lifestyles turn on a gene in a different way at a different time–we do have information on several types of genes in Hemiplegic Migraine cases but not everyone with those genes comes down with migraines, and if they do, not everyone comes down with Hemiplegic ones. It is not clear from the point of genetics how and why a migraine becomes Hemiplegic.
Now the book is also available in the UK and in Australia. Since I encourage private conversations with my readers to make sure they have no other health conditions that may interfere with my recommendations, I have been able to obtain more information on the possible causes for why people in the UK and Australia suffer different migraines and why those migraines are not responding as well to the standard US treatment.
Thus I am writing this note to those who live in the UK or Australia.
One of the reasons why the standard methodology in the book is not working as well in these countries is that some of the minerals, such as salt, are not available in many of the foods in these countries. I was talking to one of the book users in the UK and I suggested that she buy some crackers with salt. She advised me that there are no more crackers with salt in the UK and the whole country is salt free. Furthermore there are no sport drinks without artificial sweeteners, etc. Artificial sweeteners can often be migraine triggers. Also, since they are toxins the body doesn’t know what to do with, they may leave the brain with serious problems (you can read about it in Fat Chance by Robert H. Lustig). It seems that the whole country of the UK went salt free and sugar-free in the name of “health” creating a huge migraine epidemic of a very serious kind that cannot even be easily remedied because of the lack of availability of proper minerals in everyday food items. Yes, heart health is a concern but even the heart cannot function without salt–it too has pumps that depend on salt. Lack of salt can have immediate, adverse consequences and can even be fatal in a relatively short time, whereas too much salt may be harmful (not lethal) in a long time, over 20-40 years. Which would you choose?
Furthermore, in the UK in particular, the first line of treatment for any migraine is still vascular, meaning vasoconstrictors (drugs that reduce the size of blood vessels to increase blood pressure) or vasorelaxers (beta blockers and similar that reduce blood pressure). There are two problems with this approach:
- If one needs to constrict blood vessels, one can have a cup of tea and the job is done. The problem is that people in the UK–and also in Australia–drink a lot of tea! Thus if they receive medication to increase their blood pressure and also drink tea, they can have only a trickle of blood flowing but it will come at a high enough pressure–the problem of course is that blood volume is reduced and so less oxygen and nutrients can reach the brain.
- The second problem is the beta blockers. Most migraine sufferers have low blood pressure to start with but they are often treated with blood pressure reducing drugs, causing even less of a chance for the brain to get enough blood. I had talked to people from the UK whose CT scan of the brain showed parts of their brain not getting any blood at all. Well, do we expect a brain to work on nothing?
So if you have migraines in the UK or Australia, please note that drinking tea means a ton of caffeine that reduces blood volume while increasing pressure and constricting the veins. This is a major problem since anything with caffeine is diuretic-it chases water out of the body. Thus people in these countries who suffer from migraines are so dehydrated and the drugs they often take are so much the opposite of what they need, that this alone would explain the frequency of Hemiplegic Migraines in comparison to the US and why the process described in my book does not have a chance of working as effectively.
My book assumes that each person knows how much water to drink a day–there are plenty of apps for smart phones and also plenty of online calculators. I, for example, need to drink 10 glasses of water in the winter and 12 in the summer based on my location (hot and dry), age, elevation, physical activity, etc., and that I neither drink alcohol nor soft drinks or tea, only one small espresso a day.
When I ask UK or Australian people how much water, soft drinks, coffee, tea, alcohol they drink, I get answers like: I drink 2-4 glasses of water a day, 2-3 glasses of soft drinks, 2-3 teas, 1 coffee, and I may have an alcoholic drink a day.
Since soft drinks have some salt, they are halfway diuretic because of the sugar or sugar substitutes: tea, coffee and alcohol are fully diuretic. So for each cup of tea, coffee, and alcohol, there better be equal number of cups of water added just to make up for their diuretic effects and a half cup of water for each cup of soft drink. Thus, someone drinking 4 glasses of water and 3 glasses of soft drinks, 3 teas, 1 coffee, and 1 glass of alcohol, is drinking negative 2.5 glass of water–that is, rather than gaining the body is losing water.
In terms of the other minerals in the book, like salt, my book assumes some salt in the diet since the US diet is full of it. If food in the UK and Australia is without salt, just to be at the US baseline for my book, salt must be added.
Yesterday I asked a mom from Australia, whose daughter just had her first episode of Hemiplegic Migraine, what food her daughter eats and her response was: oh she eats a very healthy diet. Yep… healthy diet typically means minimal salt. Vegetarians are the most likely to get migraines and be dehydrated since vegetables only contain trace amounts of salt.
To summarize, if you are from the UK or Australia please note that the recommendations of my book need to be modified depending on how much tea you drink, artificial sweeteners you eat or drink and how little salt you eat.
Please contact me for more information and for help calculating your needs. Please join the Facebook migraine group I created or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org